The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/28-0

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.

by George Monbiot
Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1).

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems(2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained(3). But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and the pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, as the most accessible reserves have been exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable(4), the Ecuadorean government decided that oil drilling would go ahead in the heart of the Yasuni national park(5). It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as blackmail or you could see it as fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich: why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills(6), will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America(7).

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/28-0

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie speech at opening of Summit Fringe

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie speech at opening of Summit Fringe

Our Phone Obsession Is Turning Us Into Zombies

Raise Your Consciousness.

Throw away your ear buds, dump your tablet, exchange your Smart Phone for a simple handset cell phone with no additional features.  Get one you pay for the minutes of usage and limit it to say 30 minutes per month.

Look around you at the world.

Enjoy the present.

Be there in the here and now.

Engage life instead of some electronic toy that only makes you stupid and unaware.

Getting rid of Smart Phones will help make the world a much better place.

Best thing you can do along with shopping locally and living frugally.

Small changes can really mess with the mega corporations.

Consuming less is revolutionary.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/culture/our-phone-obsession-turning-us-zombies

Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has materialized and we are it.

By Will Durst
June 8, 2014

You see them staggering down our streets, heads bowed as if in prayer making the occasional grunting noise. Mindless drooling de-animated human husks walking blindly into fountains, crosswalks and lamp posts. Wake up People. We are in the middle of a science fiction movie here. Welcome to the Invasion of the Phone Zombies.

Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has materialized and we are it. Everywhere you look you find the deathlike trance- frozen faces of we necromantic slaves with twitching fingers. Spending endless empty hours mesmerized by our tiny screens. An entire society that can’t remember its own phone number, much less that of any significant other. Of course, compared to our magical phones, there are no significant others.

Our smart phones are being manipulated by some very dumb people. Sure, amazing things can be accomplished: check the weather patterns in Outer Mongolia. Translate French past participles into Farsi. Order a chess set made out of imitation crab meat in the shape of the characters from 12 Years a Slave and have it delivered to our house before getting back from work. But in the meantime, we are developing the attention span of high- speed lint. And the personalities.

The contagion has spread everywhere. Stall zombies in public rest rooms that hog the enclosed sanctum to play a quick round of Fruit Ninja. Or two. Nightlife zombies who ignore the jokes onstage so they can respond with multiple LOLs on their electronic leash. Tangentially ambulatory zombies who get into their car but refuse to leave parking spots until checking in with High Command. Vacation zombies who spend thousands of dollars to stare at their phones in distant exotic lands.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/culture/our-phone-obsession-turning-us-zombies

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Our Phone Obsession Is Turning Us Into Zombies